Remember when we were kids and the thought of being sent to the principal’s office terrified us? That was back in the day when paddling was just part of the discipline process and children feared it. When you heard one of your friends met their fate with the paddle, it was enough to make you walk the straight and narrow (which is probably why I never got sent to the principal’s office).
A video of a 5-year-old boy being spanked by his teacher has emerged that has some people going ape. Pam Edge, principal at Jasper County Primary School in Georgia, was filmed spanking one of her students in her office. Corporal punishment is still legal in Georgia, along with 18 other states.
The film (which has gone viral) was taken by the boy’s mother, Shana Marie Perez, who was in the office at the time of the spanking. The boy was being paddled because he spit on another student and was showing physical aggression.
Perez claims she felt she had to consent to the spanking because if not, her son would have been suspended for already missing 18 days of school. In addition, she may have been in trouble herself. “I WILL go to jail for truancy. Jasper county made me do this. I could not go to jail or my kids have nothing,” she wrote on Facebook.
Perez is now claiming that this was abuse. But according to Georgia law, it isn’t a criminal act. The practice was upheld by a 1977 Supreme Court decision that ruled corporal punishment in schools did not violate our Constitution’s ban on cruel and unusual punishment.
George Holden, the chair of the psychology department at Southern Methodist University and the president of the U.S. Alliance to End the Hitting of Children, says:
Corporal punishment is potentially damaging to children, it’s not the best way to deal with them and it’s also a violation of their right not to be hit…If the adult is hitting a child, they learn to hit other children if they’re upset or angry.
According to the most recent federal data, between 2011 and 2012 approximately 166,807 children were spanked at schools.
Some questions to ask: Why did this child miss 18 days of school? And why isn’t the mother disciplining her own son and getting help if the boy needs it? Personally, I don’t have a problem with spanking and feel that this may be an instance of “spare the rod, spoil the child.”
Should kids be spanked at school? Leave a comment and let us know what you think.